Results tagged ‘ Scott Downs ’

ROSTER DECISIONS SOON TO BE MADE

The Toronto Blue Jays are down to their final week of baseball in Dunedin, Florida before making the trip North to begin the season against the New York Yankees on March 31st and roster spots are due to be made.

Position players (catchers, infielders and outfielders) seem to be set with Gregg Zaun and Rod Barajas at catcher with non-roster invitee Sal Fasano likely to be released rather than sent to AAA-Syracuse.

Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, David Eckstein, Scott Rolen will start in the infield with Marcus Scutaro and John MacDonald providing back-up at every position. Frank Thomas is the Designated Hitter.

That leaves four outfield spots with Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Matt Stairs all set. The Blue jays must make a decision on Reed Johnson or Shannon Stewart for the final spot. Many teams have inquired about the Jays surplus and a trade could help alleviate the situation.

Non-roster infielder Hector Luna and outfielder Matt Watson could be sent to AAA-Syracuse by the end of the week.

The pitching staff includes a rotation of Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan and Shawn Marcum. Righty Jesse Litsch is slated to be the number 5-guy in the rotation and the Blue Jays have done nothing to suggest he won’t, unless a late season trade occurs.

The Bullpen has Jeremy Accardo as the closer until B.J. Ryan returns, while Brandon League, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs appear set. That leaves three spots remaining for 10-remaining pitchers in camp.

The Jays will likely keep one additional lefty to Scott Downs and holdover Brian Tallet would seem to be the guy. But the Jays also brought to camp John Parrish, Mike Gosling and Jesse Carlson who have all pitched well. In addition, they picked up another lefty Billy Murphy last week from Arizona.
If Tallet makes the club look for the remainder to be sent to Syracuse.

That leaves two spots for righthanders with rule five selection Randy Wells and Brian Wolfe leading the pack. They are being challenged by free agent spring training pick-up Armando Benitez, Shawn Camp and Kane Davis.

Either way there are still 19 pitchers in camp with only 12 roster spots available. This week games will decide who wins jobs in April. Stay tuned.

LEAGUE BACK WITH CHIEFS, MAYBE…

Righthanded pitcher Brandon League who never really was able to pitch this spring has been optioned to Syracuse.  The hard throwing reliever has had trouble with his velocity and will likely spend time in Dunedin before making an appearance in Syracuse with the Chiefs.

The Blue Jays meanwhile need to make a few decisions this week now that League will not be part of their plans to start the season.

The rotation is nearly set with Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Gustavo Chacin and Tomo Ohka set.  The fifth spot should go to Josh Towers who has pitched well enough to earn another chance.

BJ Ryan, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Jason Frasor also should be assured spots.  That leaves John Thomson, Victor Zambrano, Geremi Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo, Casey Janssen and Francisco Rosario all fighting for three spots.  Zambrano and Janssen look like they are the front runners.  While Rosario is out of options, and Thomson won’t begin throwing again until Friday.  Gonzalez and Accardo look like they are ticketed to the Chiefs.

The Blue Jays could also help their bullpen by pulling off a late spring training trade or claiming someone off waivers this week.

JAYS BEGIN TO DELETE ROSTER

The Toronto Blue Jays minor league camp opened last week and games for their four affiliates will begin on Wednesday vs the Philadelphia Phillies organization.  At the major league level, the parent club has begun sending down players including seven pitchers.  Lefty Jo Matumoto joins righthanders Beau Kemp, Josh Banks, Ismael Ramirez, and yesterday Ryan Houston, Jean Machi and Tracy Thorpe found their way back to the Englebert Complex.

Only shortstop Sergio Santos and catcher Erik Kratz have been assigned from the group of non-pitchers.

First glance at the Jays pitching staff only Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, and Brian Tallet seem to be locks.  That leaves probably five spots available and righthanders Jeremy Accardo and Brandon League if healthy will take up two of those.  The other three spots, two are starting pitchers and one long reliever. 

The candidates, Tomo Ohka, John Thomson, Josh Towers and Shaun Marcum are leading contenders with Victor Zambrano, Pete Walker and Geremi Gonzalez also in the mix.  Francisco Rosario is out of options and can’t return to Syracuse.

Pitchers most likely left out and headed back to Syracuse include Dustin McGowan, Davis Romero, who was injured early in camp, Matt Roney, Ty Taubenheim, Lee Gronkiewicz, Blaine Neal, and Brian Wolfe.

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